The Wine Shoppe in Blairsville, GA

A few months ago a group of my nearest and dearest got together and planned a week long trip up in the North Georgia mountains. Back in 2004 my mom and I were looking for a place to go camping during our winter school break. I can vividly remember sitting at the kitchen counter at my parent’s house scanning a map of the southeastern United States looking for a place that would be a) A day’s worth of driving distance and b) A change of scenery from our regular beachy Florida views.  Continue reading


Happy Birthday Mom!

When I think about my mother, what I remember most was her love of celebrating.

She would celebrate anything and everything. 
Life itself was a celebration.

Birthdays, promotions, anniversaries, daylight savings time. She’d find ANY reason to cook a meal, bake a cake and have people over. It’s just who she was. 10511352_10152651390667474_3098322061653697010_nWhat I remember most about all of those get togethers was how they made us feel. My mother always made sure everyone was well fed and having a good time. And if it was your birthday, you were sure to feel special.  Continue reading


Review: Yo! Sushi

Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post as part of a blogger collaboration with YO! Sushi. I have been compensated in the form of product for this post and my honest thoughts on YO! Sushi. All opinions are my own. 

Last Thursday Carlos, from Carlos Eats, invited a handful of bloggers to attend an event with YO! Sushi at the International Plaza and Bay Street called Ramen Mania. Liz, from No Ordinary Liz and I jumped at the opportunity to try a new-to-us place, and boy are we glad we did!  During the event we were invited to try new menu additions including ramen bowls, limited-edition poke bowls, and new sushi rolls and other menu bites. In addition to the tasting opportunities, we were also able to meet the staff and chefs who are behind the tasty and creative offerings at YO! Sushi.  Continue reading


My first Mammogram at 37

Disclaimer: This post covers sensitive medical and wellness related topics involving breast cancer and preventative procedures. If you feel uncomfortable discussing or reading about these topics, please skip this post. I won’t be offended because I know you’ll be back! Additionally, I am NOT a medical professional. I am simply a patient giving my opinion on how to be proactive with women’s health issues. Please consult your own physician before attempting any medical procedure or self-diagnosing. 

Posts like this never get easier. It’s just the nature of the subject. But it’s important for me to continue to write about my experiences in dealing with my own health after losing my mother to stage 4 triple negative carcinoma (the worst case scenario as far as breast cancers go) four years ago. And because some of you may be facing these same high-risk circumstances, my hope is that I can bring you comfort, knowledge and the confidence to take control of your situation with proactive, preventative measures in order to live a calm, happy and healthy life.  Continue reading


Sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles

Happy Fourth of July!

Need a last minute summer snack to whip up for a party or picnic? Try these SUPER simple sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles! 
ddc6df9b-fb92-4edddddddb5-b142-50632b0c4c52These pickles are SO flavorful, with just the right balance of sweet and sour- with a little kick at the end from some spice. They can be ready is as little as 2 hours and will last 2-3 weeks in an air-tight container in the fridge. You can use whatever type of cucumber you like- English, mini-pickling, etc. OR try using onions, sweet peppers or even carrots! The pickling possibilities are endless!
Continue reading


Summer adventures

Hello from Philly!13524396_10154354176277474_4827096404118096982_n

We’ve had an amazing time up here visiting with family in Delaware and enjoying a few days in Philly while the Dave Matthews Band is in town! To top things off, yesterday was our 5th anniversary and today is my 37th birthday! What better way to spend both of those special days than on an epic vacation! Continue reading


2016 Mazda 6 Review #DriveMazda

This adventure was made possible through my blogging partnership with the awesome people at DriveShop and Mazda, who provided me with a vehicle to test drive. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million more…Mazda builds some BEAUTIFUL vehicles. e6407047-1bf7-4765-85b5-abf579209003I spent a whole week with the gorgeous, luxurious and sporty Mazda 6 Grand Touring over spring break a few weeks ago, and I must say, it was difficult letting it go at the week’s end! Between the bright and shiny soul red paint job, to the 19-inch alloy wheels, it was love at first sight. But it didn’t stop there- the inside is a show stopper as well. This option came loaded with gorgeous black leather seats, and a crisp and clean dashboard that was not only beautiful, but easy to navigate. 

When I was originally given the opportunity to test drive the Mazda 6 over spring break, I had planned to take the vehicle for a few stay-cation road trips in and around the surrounding area. There is SO much to do near where I live (Tampa Bay, FL) that just a 1/2 tank of gas will provide you with a change of scenery. As it came closer to test drive time, I started talking to one of my best friends about her upcoming surgery. Liz, from the amazing blog, No Ordinary Liz, truly has #noordinarylife. Somehow, some way, she managed to tear not one but BOTH of her Achilles tendons! Last fall she had her first surgery and when she was almost healed, her doctor began talking about scheduling the second surgery. Liz is completely on her own for the most part, but luckily she has a HUGE network of people (including her amazing sister and brother-in-law) that were here to help her for both surgeries. When Liz began talking about how it would be difficult for her sister to take off a week of work to help her during her first week post-op, I suggested that Liz schedule her second Achilles surgery during my spring break so that she would have the help that she needed. Well, we certainly made the most of the Mazda 6 during that time- and trips to the doctor’s office for post-op visits were a little more special than they would have beenIMG_4586


The Mazda 6 is surprisingly roomy. Liz (and her cast which we kindly dubbed “the chicken nugget”) was able to sit comfortably for the almost 30 minute drive to the doctor’s office and was floored by the 180 degree incline that the front seats recline to! She was feeling a bit uncomfortable on the ride home, but was able to recline and rest a bit with that comfortable feature. I was also floored by the amount of space the trunk had! Although I didn’t snap a picture, we were able to fit Liz’s folding wheelchair PLUS two full size crutches in the trunk. I did, however, snap a picture of a Target trip that same week. 


In addition to the comfort and space, I loved the rear back-up camera, the Bose centerpoint premium audio surround system, crystal clear LED lighting system, and the gorgeous view from the one touch open moonroof/sunroof. The Mazda 6 is also excellent on gas mileage, getting 26/38 MPG with the 184 HP 2.5L SKYACTIV-G-powered engine. 

In addition, the 2016 Mazda 6 is equipped with available Smart City Brake Support. There are some amazing safety features, but my favorite would have to be the blind spot monitoring control, the rain sensing windshield wipers and rear view back-up camera with rear-cross traffic alert. It’s a great feeling to know that I those added safety features right at my finger tips. I also really appreciated the head’s up display! It took a day or so to get used to it, but once I did, I was hooked.  



Some additional features of the 2016 Mazda 6 Grand Touring
Engine/Mechanical Features

  • SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder with VVT
  • 184 hp @ 5700 rpm; 185 lb-ft @ 3250 rpm torque
  • Front-Wheel Drive
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Electric Power Assisted Steering

Exterior Features

  • 19-inch Alloy Wheels
  • P225/45 R19 all-season radial tires
  • Variable Rain-Sensing Wipers
  • Power sliding-glass moonroof with one-touch-open feature and interior sunshade
  • Heated Power Mirrors w/ Turn Lamps
  • LED daytime running lights 

Interior Features

  • 5-Passenger Seating
  • Air conditioner with pollen filter
  • Tilt & Telescopic Steering Column
  • Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel w/ Audio/Cruise/Bluetooth Controls
  • Power Automatic Door Locks
  • Power Windows w/ Driver One-Touch
  • Leather Trimmed Sport Seats
  • 8-Way Power Driver’s Seat
  • Driver Power Lumbar Support
  • Manual Passenger Seat Lifter
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Mid w/ Trip Computer
  • Advanced Keyless Entry System
  • Electronic Parking Brake
  • Push Button Engine Start
  • Dual Zone Auto Climate Control
  • HD Radio/Aux Jack/2 USB Input
  • Bluetooth Hands Free Phone/Audio
  • 7″ Color Touch-Screen Display
  • Multi-Function Commander Control
  • Rearview Camera
  • Dual Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
  • Center Armrest w/ Covered Storage
  • Rear Seat Center Armrest
  • Carpeted Floor Mats
  • Mazda Navigation system

Safety and Security Features

  • 60MO/60K MI Powertrain & 36MO/36K MI Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty
  • 24-Hour Roadside Assistance (36MO/36K MI)
  • 5-Passenger 3-Point Safety Belts
  • Latch Child Safety Seat Anchors
  • Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS with EBD & Brake Assist)
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Hill Launch Assist
  • Advanced Dual Front Airbags
  • Front Side-Impact Air Bags
  • Front & Rear Side Air Curtains

If you’re looking for a comfortable vehicle that is PERFECT for families, couples or even if you’re just living the independent life, check out the Mazda 6! It’s super affordable starting out at around $21,500!

Have you driven the Mazda 6? What did you think?